Do you want to know the worst thing an unemployed person can do? Does anyone have any idea what the worst thing for someone who is already at their lowest, can possibly do to feel like the bottom of someone’s shoe after walking through Lollapaloza? It’s not Facebook like you might think – no, the happily engaged couple and your budgeting baby bump always get my instant “like” because, I mean, come one, who says no to love?! The answer to the question is actually ironic considering you’re out of a job — link din. You know, the professional resume site where people can publicly gawk at your employment history and silently judge you based on your salary, job description, company, and the like. It’s awful.
Now, much like Facebook, Linkedin takes the places you’ve worked and suggests it’s own “connections” from that to create your personal online network of people
you’ve never cared for you’ve worked with or around before. People can accept you invitations and recommend you for jobs or endorse skills that you’ve put on your resume (because that’s what we need, more people to tell us what we are and are not good at – said no one ever) to better enhance your chances of getting another job. In a world filled with enough social media to make you feel like you already know a person backwards and forwards through pictures, tweets, status updates and check-ins this site cuts out all the bullshit and highlights what’s really most important in most Americans lives, accomplishments.
As most of you know, I was fortunate enough to spend two years in DC (pre legal drinking age) interning at some of coolest places one can intern in that city. American Legacy Foundation, Human Rights Campaign, Congress (of course) and The White House. I’m proud of these internships but I am always slightly embarrassed about bringing them up to people outside of a job interview setting because I don’t want to sound obnoxious. Sure, beating out hundreds of other applicants to intern at the most prestigious political institution in the free world is mind blowing but I’ve never wanted that to be the most impressive thing about me, so I hardly mention it, especially outside of the political world I’m usually in. But when I’m on Linkedin it’s all former interns all the time. There they are, heading up non-profits, staffing Congress, taking pictures with Joe Biden (Wait- Joe Biden?!), being all around the amazing people I knew they would be when I met them and it’s depressing. It’s almost as if the famous quote “With great power
to network your way into any government office, comes great responsibility to do something with it,” was a lecture I missed during orientation. Now I’m forced to sit on the couch all day applying to jobs while knowing full well that all my peers are deputy directors of “insert cool selfless campaign here”. Awesome, I wasn’t already close to finishing this wine bottle, but now I am.
It’s not that I’m jealous. Those people are just well off twenty somethings with the same fundamental problems as anyone else, they’re just smart and well connected. I try to remind myself that I too am smart and well connected but after the 2012 election I was political beat, too tired from weeks of 80 work weeks to even think about moving back to DC. Not to mention I could afford a 2 bedroom apartment for $900 a month in Arizona while everyone else was paying upwards of $1500 for a studio in DC. This is what I tell myself while I scroll through pages upon pages of smiling employed people who I envy, if for nothing else than that they’ve found something they love to do that also happens to pay their bills and they’er younger than thirty.
The real way I snap myself out of it, is by realizing that those people are the exception, not the rule. We’re in an economy where it take on average 5 years for people to finish their undergraduate degree, usually because they have to work full or part time in order to sustain themselves. After that’s over, your new, shiny, college degree will get you about 30k a year IF YOURE LUCKY before you slum it back to get a advanced degree, which will set you back another $100k and get you the job of your dreams, except now your 30. Forget kids, and a family, you’ve barely had time to support your basic addiction to
alcohol food let alone date. We’re competing in a global market where every kid got good SAT scores, went to good colleges, had the same internships and for less jobs with less money than ever before and yet more debt and higher cost of living than any generation before us. Cell phone bills are never less than $150 dollars a month, rental markets in every city across the US, gas is a steady $3.75 minimum and did I mention you can’t qualify for any loans because you’re already in debt.
And then there you are, looking for jobs and updating you Linkedin page and you have to see what everyone else has accomplished and your reality feels more like a bunch of excuses than anything else, and the only thing you feel, is discouraged.